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Old 11-17-2017, 10:40 AM   #1
JillD
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Best way to address air pockets in kerdi membrane on curb

I am redoing my downstairs bathroom which is basically a powder room with a small 32 x 48" shower that will be the designated dog washing station/ occasional after pool shower. Started 2 years ago and just taking my time researching each step and overcoming soo many obstacles. Trying not to compromise any integrity when I have to improvise some. Tore down to the studs and concrete floors and a giant hole into my crawlspace after removing old school 3" thick lathe and mud shower walls, modified the plumbimg, new drywall and even had to dig out the concrete to remove old drain, Bought a complete schluter kerdi shower kit may 2016 and FINALLY to the point of using this kit after more setbacks than you can imagine.

Monday I installed kerdi on my shower walls for the first time with versabond on drywall and had zero issues. Everything went on perfectly .Tuesday I put in the foam pan and and curb and kerdi over it. I struggled with the corners a bit but in the end they seem good. My pan is pieced due to a dumb blonde error of cutting the wrong side but i was careful of angles and used thinset to connect it all together. I dont feel like that will be an issue with kerdi over it.

However the next morning I discovered some air pockets where kerdi membrane did not adhere at top edges of inside and outside of the curb. literally at very top edge of the sides theres a 1/2 high gap along more than half the 48" curb and it kinda just rounds the corner instead of laying flat.. It is firmly adhered at the sides, corners and bottom and top flat part. I should have used a separate piece of kerdi for the curb but I let the piece for the pan overlap up the curb over the top and down a couple inches on outside. so then added a piece on the outside and up to top of curb then used kerdi band on top to be safe.. LOL TOO many layers in different directions and I caused the air pockets to form! Obviously I need to fix this and not sure of best approach is

1. to remove the membrane from the curb down to the edge of the pan and lay a single piece of kerdi over the curb and use the kerdi band at pan seam and either improvise new corner pieces with kerdi or buy a new set of inside and outside corners..

OR

2. use a razor to cut open a flap and add thinset and smooth over then add kerdi band? Its already a bit bulky on the top of the curb but Im really happy with how the corners came out and the crisp edge on half of it.

3. Also would like opinion on the SN Niche edges overlap. I just trimmed the kerdi membrane to the opening but feel like I need to add kerdi band at the edges. technically its a 2" overlap but my cut out for the niche wasnt totally smooth and there were gaps between drywall and the SN so feels like a weak point. considering trimming back the membrane an inch or so then layering kerdiband over that edge but seems redundant. or use kerdiband wrapped from wall to inside of niche? does that make sense? Kedifix would have been the best approach for the gap but too late now

any suggestion would be much appreciated! I have pics and will add once they download
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Old 11-17-2017, 10:57 AM   #2
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some progress pics.. and yeah I know the pan is a mess with thinset
dripped everywhere but its smooth LOL and the drain grill is not attached just covering the hole
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Old 11-17-2017, 01:28 PM   #3
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I only like to read the titles and answer that question. Let's see the air bubbles. You could pop them with a razor blade, then cover them with kerdi fix and a piece of kerdi band.

Travis, that is a very good idea!
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Old 11-17-2017, 04:56 PM   #4
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IF those bubbles are not within 2" of a seam and you're not using a small mosaic, don't worry about them. Otherwise, you can slit it, stuff thinset in there (or KerdiFix). IF you use thinset, cover with Kerdiband, if you use KerdiFix, you should be okay without, but it won't hurt.
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Old 11-18-2017, 07:32 AM   #5
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The air bubbles on the inside are not close to a seam but the ones on the ouside of the curb are. The outside I'm not super worried about water proofing as there will be a door there. . However what I'm worried about is the tile having a solid surface to adhere to. Seems like it would wiggle if I left it? Will be using 6" ceramic tiles and maybe quarter round at the edges of the curb. Just discovered though my tile is discontinued for some odd reason the quarter round is avail from many sources online (bought tile 2 years ago when HD was clearing it out- daltile slate look for a crazy low price!!). I just want my edge on niche to match edges on curb. I have bull nose pieces but not wide enough for curb and reading it's better not to have too many grout lines so not sure which direction to go. Seems like quarter round just adds grout lines so um....???
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Old 11-18-2017, 10:03 AM   #6
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Maybe I am obsessing over something too minor to matter. Pics show the air pocket pushed in. It's tiny. Does it maybe not matter on outside edge of curb. Will the tiles lay flat over an air pocket? (I did remove the kero band on top part of curb)
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Old 11-18-2017, 12:19 PM   #7
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If you can imagine the tile moving while sitting over this air pocket, it's too big. We often recommend setting tile over a small air pocket when the majority of the tile is not bonded to the bubble. But when the entire tile, or the majority of it, is "floating", that's not good.
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Old 11-19-2017, 02:49 PM   #8
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I operated on the curb this morning. Made about a 30 inch slit along upper side of the curb and used my finger to smoosh thinset into it then smooth it back out then layer the top of the slit back over I had to sit there with my hands holding it flat for a few minuted then added kerdi band over it and also held it in place ensuring smooth crisp corners. I decided I dont think I am going to worry about outside edge of curb as it wont be a much used shower AND will be putting a glass door on it AND I'm on slab not wood AND I dont think there would be much wiggle to it.

I also did kerdi band around the niche today so there's NO way in hell any moisture can make it through there!

almost ready to tile.. will do leak test tonight and pull out my new tile saw and start learning how to use that tomorrow so I can start the niche..

Been playing with the math on how to strategically line up the tiles to center on the niche and know exactly what level to start my first row of tiles.... too bad I cant tile from the middle down and up LOL
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Old 11-19-2017, 05:17 PM   #9
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Good job, Jill. Just make sure any parts of the shower that will get wet during the flood test have been allowed to dry for at least 24 hours.
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Old 11-27-2017, 09:04 PM   #10
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Tiling update

Just wanted to share my progress photos.. one oddball question. I am dealing with such lumpy thinset.. takes forever to mix and then I end up having to break up lumps and nix more on my trowel. I bought the versa bind 2 years ago and it's been sitting in the garage. When I open the bag it's not powder it's in semi hard chunks that I have to break up. Is this normal? Or because it sat in the garage and humidity for so long? Should I just go buy another bag?

Also here are the pics.. having fun but geez my back!! And knees, glad tomorrow I won't be on my knees to finish the back wall
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Old 11-27-2017, 09:59 PM   #11
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Hi Jill, I never post on here (not a pro) but I had to after reading your last comment. The thinset you have is expired, throw that stuff away.
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Old 11-27-2017, 10:07 PM   #12
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Jill, the thinset mortar manufacturer's usually warrant their products for one year from the date of manufacture, presuming it has been stored unopened in a dry place. After that date the product is no longer considered usable and should be disposed of or used to make yard bunnies.

I wish you had not used any of it on your project, but all you can do at this point is hope for the best. Please don't use any more of that mortar.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Old 11-28-2017, 10:02 AM   #13
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Wow. Okay I wont. Will throw it in the trash in a bit.

One more question. Today now that everything is dry I removed all the spacers and noticing my top row of tile is a mess every possible issue is there in the one row with bad spacing and a lot of lippage on the bottom and I seriously don't k ow what happened other than it was getting dark and my back was starring to lock up on me ad I guess I was rushing to get to my stopping point as I am happy with everything below the mosaic (mosaic is not perfect either but okay) what is the best way to remove these 7 1/2 tiles? They are ceramic and 1/4 inch thick.. might they just pry off with a chisel and hammer? Or do I need to smash them up to come off easier??

Thank u again for all the advice!
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Old 11-28-2017, 10:27 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jill
what is the best way to remove these 7 1/2 tiles?
Do it last night shortly after you installed them.

But, since that ship has sailed, second best thing I'd recommend is to give serious thought to whether you really want to remove them at all. One of the drawbacks, if it can be called that, to use of direct bonded waterproofing membranes is that you can't remove cured tiles from the surface without serious damage to the membrane. In the case of your Kerdi membrane, if your tiles were set properly the thinset mortar will almost certainly pull the fleece off the membrane and you'll be left with a surface that is still waterproof but to which you can no longer bond tiles.

If you decide to remove them, the sooner you do it the better. And you won't know what will work best 'till you try to remove the first tile. That really old, degraded mortar might turn out to be your best friend at this point. But every minute you wait means the mortar will be a little better cured.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Old 11-28-2017, 11:03 AM   #15
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Well that came off a little too easily!! was still damp as I remember I did add a little more water as I broke up some clumps at the end so you're right the bad thinset is a blessing in disquise, now I just hope the rest of the tile sticks!! Below what's left of mosaic is hard aMD dry and as I was tiling the consistency of the mortar was a lot better

I added a close up of the membraner after gently scraping off the damp mortar.. looks okay to me once it dries right?
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